Finding the ideal taste profile for water in China


Evian is one of the biggest brands of bottled water in Europe, but it did not work in China. How we helped them to find the ideal taste profile for bottled water in China.

Background – Why does our water not work in China?

Danone Waters owns the brands Evian & Volvic. The French company ‘knows’ water. It also knows that shipping Evian to China is environmentally and economically unsound. They wanted to find and establish a water source in China that could become the National brand. They had tried and failed a number of times – investing in locating boreholes and marketing waters – which had failed.

So they called us….

The Question – What is the ideal Taste Profile for bottled water in China?

To identify the ideal taste profile for a bottled water in China.

The Marketing Clinic Approach – What does Fresh Water taste like in China?

Using our unique methods we profiled the Chinese consumer palate for water. We gained an understanding that they had previously missed.

In European style waters – and Evian is a classic example – the consumer sees snow-capped mountains, glaciers, water filtering through the mountains and fresh cold water emerging through bubbling springs and straight into the bottle. It has an in-built dynamism, an early minerality in its taste and a softer expansion in the mid mouth with an accelerating finish.

The Chinese consumer pictured wide open green planes with slower flowing meandering steams. They – unconsciously – wanted a signal of this outdoor freshness in their water which came from a fleeting, slightly green vegetation note in the rear of mouth – the taste of ‘Big Nature’.

Such a flavour note is anathema to Western palates – all such products had been rejected by the Danone ‘Experts’ who had selected waters based on European ideals of fresh water.

The Chinese consumer unconsciously sought a completely different taste profile which we had now identified.

The Outcome – A different Flavour Profile, A successful launch

Our insights gave the team the exact information they needed. Danone found a new water bore hole which matched the taste and emotional characteristics we had defined which then led to the national launch and commercial success of the Danone ‘HE’ Water in China.